KEENE, N.Y. (AP) — State officials, grappling with how to handle growing crowds of hikers in the Adirondack High Peaks, announced a new reservation system for a popular trailhead.
Reservations will be required starting May 1 for the 70 parking spots at the Ausable Mountain Reserve lot for access to trails across the reserve's 7,000 acres. Walk-in users without a reservation will not be permitted. The trailhead for Indian Head, Noonmark and other mountains is among the most popular in the Adirondacks.
The lot fills up quickly in the summer, prompting hikers to park along a busy state route leading to Lake Placid. Officials have said the illegal parking along Route 73 is dangerous.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced the pilot program Monday jointly with the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, or AMR, which will operate the reservation system. The reserve is private land, but there is an easement allowing the public to hike.
“With the increasing number of visitors to trailheads accessed through AMR, exacerbated in 2020 by New Yorkers looking for a nature break as a respite from COVID-19, DEC and AMR are working together to promote sustainable recreation and protect public safety," said state environmental commissioner Basil Seggos.
Reservations can be made two weeks in advance starting April 15 through the web portal, hikeamr.org and will be required through Oct. 31.